Disclaimer: I do not own J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter, nor am I making any money off this fanfiction. Boohoo.
Ah… been a long time since I wrote a HP fanfiction and posted it, but… I hope my skills aren't too rusty!
Okay, this was done for my best friend Natalie, as today is her birthday! I hope you enjoy, Natalie!
There was something about the way his scrambled eggs were looking up at him that made James's stomach absolutely nauseous. He poked at them with his fork, brows furrowing as his lips pursed, and wondered why he had come down to breakfast when he didn't really have an appetite at the moment. Could it be because Remus had thrown open the blinds and let in that God-awful sunlight? Could it be because Peter was snoring so loudly that after the I-Will-Blind-James-Incident he couldn't go back to sleep? Could it be because Sirius had slapped his arse in an amicable fashion and proceeded to mosey out of the room?
Or could it be because Lily had, once again, so graciously dumped him?
James stared gloomily into his flask of orange juice. Why were all his efforts in vain? Could it be because Lily was telling the truth? Was he really that much of a self-centered git? He didn't think he was. Granted, he didn't think a lot of rude things about himself, but…
He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. Lily just kept pushing him away. Pushing, and pushing, and pushing. One of these days, she was just going to push too far, and then—
And then what? Was he going to go crawling back to Sirius, telling him how right he was? That Lily was an evil she-devil, and didn't deserve his utmost affection?
He sniffed, just slightly, and took a bite of his eggs. She didn't, did she? No, not at all. She was ungrateful! After all the hours he spent pouring blood and sweat into making sure that everything was perfect, she laughed at him, or slapped him, or pushed him, or yelled at him, and it always led up to the same thing—"No, James Potter, I will not go on a date with you."
His tongue was always ready to lash out with none-too-pleasant words, but he always managed to keep himself in check. Why? Because if he called her a prude or a miserable old bint to her face, well, there went all his chances of ever dating her, and then where would he be?
Probably on an island somewhere, with Sirius at his side, admiring bikini-clad women strolling along the beachside.
Lily would like nice in a bikini, though, wouldn't she?
His lower lip jutted out into what was unmistakably a pout. He moved his scrambled eggs along his plate with his fork, wondering yet again why he was here, eating breakfast. He should be doing something productive with his time!
Like what? a little voice in his head whispered.
Like … I don't know… Something…
You'll never get her, just sitting here, letting her know that you're absolutely miserable. You should do something to let her know that you're not
But I am!
Well, she doesn't need to know that, now does she? the voice continued whispering. Think about it, Potter. Think about it. What if she saw that you were very happy? That her refusal didn't affect you at all?
She'd probably think that I've given up on her.
…There's that, sure, but think deeper, Potter, think deeper
How deep? I haven't had breakfast, I've had little sleep, and my brain hurts. I don't think I can do deep right now.
"Mr. Potter! You sure are looking miserable this fiiiiiiiiiinemorning!"
Twhump! went the seat beside him as Sirius threw himself into it, grinning like he had gotten everything he had ever wanted—which was James's pain.
There goes that idea, Brain, James thought sourly. He just announced it to the whole world. Got a better idea?
…I plead… um… innocence?
Right. Sure. Leave me now, when I need you most.
James narrowed his eyes into a glare. "Why, thank you, Mr. Black," he said sourly, and promptly downed some of his orange juice.
Sirius's dark eyebrows rose. "Hm. Well, what's gotten into you this morning, old buddy, old pal?"
"Nothing," he said curtly, giving a particularly nasty stab to his eggs. "Just a git who doesn't know when to leave it alone."
His friend frowned. "…Lily again?"
James didn't bother dignifying that with an answer.
Sirius's arm was immediately around his shoulders, giving it an affectionate squeeze. "You know, you shouldn't let her run all over your life like that." He placed his free hand to his chest. "Someone will begin to think you're in love."
"Holy Merlin, when the hell did this evolve into love?" Sirius asked, arm dropping from his friend's shoulders as he stared at him with dubious eyes. "I thought that this was just some sort of crazy infatuation—that you were just going to get over it eventually!"
James downed some more of his orange juice, wishing bitterly that it was whisky.
"I thought it was rather obvious myself, Sirius," came a soft voice, and the more wild of the two friends looked up to see Remus sitting down to a plate. The werewolf reached across the table, getting toast and beginning to jam it with calm, gracious movements.
Sirius made a face at him—earning only a raised eyebrow in return—and promptly returned his attention to James, placing a hand on his shoulder. "James. Look at me."
James gave him the nastiest, warning glare that he could muster.
"…Okay, look at me like I'm Sirius and not Snivelus."
James kept up the glare.
"I'm hurt, James." Sirius gave a mock-frown. "Since when have you harbored such ill thoughts?"
"Since you got here, now get your bloody hand off me, I'm in a rather foul mood."
"No kidding," came another familiar voice, and this time both boys looked up to see Peter climbing into the seat beside Remus. Grinning at the sight of all the food laid out before him, he wiggled his fingers before grabbing some toast and putting it on his plate.
Sirius, hand still on James's shoulder despite the boy's obvious discomfort, leaned over and whispered loudly to his ear. "You think he'll go on a diet anytime soon?"
Peter looked up and frowned at him. "Hey! What was that comment for, Sirius?"
Sirius grinned wickedly and wiggled the fingers of his free hand spookily at him. "Are you hearing voices again, old chap?"
"No, he's hearing a moron spout nonsense," Remus countered before Peter could think of an answer.
It was Sirius's turn to frown—again. "Hey, Moony, I don't need the background commentary."
"And we don't need to hear you poking at Peter first thing in the morning, but everyone has to hear it, anyway."
Sirius opened his mouth, closed it, then mumbled something and gave James's shoulder a squeeze. He brushed his bangs out of his eyes. "Now listen, Jamesy. What happened?"
James sighed and set his fork down, giving into the inevitable. "I asked her out."
Remus's eyebrows flew up. "Just yesterday? She just rejected you the day before that, James, why would you put yourself through that again? You should give her time to cool off," he said sensibly.
"Hey, you," Sirius said, making a motion of quieting with his fingers. "Shhh!"
Remus shot him something akin to a glare, and then quietly began munching on his toast. Heaven forbid the wise, mature one make his opinion.
"Okay, and then what?" Sirius prompted, ignoring The Look as easily as he had done all previous times.
"And then… I apologized. Well, I apologized before I asked her out."
"Right." Sirius nodded.
Peter began wolfing down scrambled eggs.
"And then… She laughed at me."
"She laughed at you!" Sirius exclaimed. "Well, for—why! Anyone can see that you're the best chap around!"
James gave him something so close to resembling Remus's Look that it was quite scary to Sirius, and he backed up a little. Remus silently saluted James.
"Right, well, if I'm such a 'best chap around', then why does she keep rejecting me? Huh, Sirius? Got an answer for that?" James sighed miserably. "It doesn't matter. No matter what I do, she just… I can't make her happy…"
"That's because she thinks you're self-centered," Remus said, voicing James's earlier thoughts. When Sirius gave him his version of The Look, he ignored it, as easily as all previous times. "James, you just have to prove that you're not."
"Boo!" Sirius retorted. "Why should he have to change who he is? If she doesn't like him for the way that he is, then she's not worth his time!"
"And what if the way James is isn't good enough for any girl?" Remus countered, and then shot James a sympathetic look. "Just as an example, of course."
"Right, sure," James muttered moodily.
Sirius sniffed. "And who thinks such things?"
Remus opened his mouth, debated if he was going to answer that, glanced at James and decided that it probably wasn't a good idea. "…Ah… Well…"
"That's what I thought!" Sirius crossed his arms triumphantly. "What say you, Peter?"
Peter blinked, halfway through his second helping of eggs, and raised confused blue eyes to Sirius's. "Erm… I agree with Remus?"
Remus hid a smile behind his sip of orange juice as Sirius began to rant and rave at Peter for "choosing the wrong side", as he liked to put it.
And just as Sirius was about to whirl his attention back around to the werewolf, James's head snapped up, his hazel eyes focused on the entrance to the Great Hall. The other three Marauders followed the direction of his gaze and found that they were staring at Lily Evans.
She strolled into the room, light catching her auburn tresses and causing them to shine beautifully. Her green eyes were warm as her lips curved into a smile, and her throaty laughter echoed through the hall as she moved to sit with her group of friends further down the table.
Sirius glared. Remus went back to eating his toast. Peter stared for a long time.
And James was star-struck.
As he always was.
As he always would be.
Sirius's glare soured, but no one seemed to notice.
He turned to James and promptly began snapping his fingers in his friend's face. "Earth to Mr. Potter! Earth to Mr. Potter!"
"Mr. Potter currently on Cloud Nine," James whispered, eyes glazed.
Sirius smacked him over the back of the head.
It did the trick.
Glaring furiously, James whipped his head around and rubbed the back of it. "What the bloody hell was that for, Sirius!"
"Because I'm trying to get your attention," Sirius replied evenly. "Look, you don't need to act all depressed—she'll know, and she'll feel triumphant, and she'll just keep using it against you. As long as she knows you're miserable, it's her weapon. If you stop acting like you're so miserable, she'll begin to feel that she doesn't have your attention anymore, and she'll begin to seek it. I can't promise what kind of attention she'll be seeking, but she'll seek it nonetheless."
Ah, the voice in James's head whispered. That's what I was talking about, Potter. See?
"You think so?" James whispered, eyes bright and hopeful.
"Yes! So, the first thing I announce to make her believe that you are not obsessed with her—" And as James protested against "obsessed", Sirius raised a finger into the air "—I will… well, I'll show you."
Sirius climbed onto the table, causing things to clatter and smashing eggs and whatnot beneath his penny loafers. Grinning maliciously as students around them began to stare, he held out his hand to James. When his friend took it, he hauled him up onto the table with him.
"What are we doing?" James hissed, eyes narrowing. He didn't mind making a public fool of himself—he did it all the time—but he'd like to know what he was going to be doing before it was done.
"We're going to show her that you're not miserable," Sirius replied, dark eyes gleaming with all-too familiar mischief.
"Sirius, what are you—"
He was cut off rather rudely as Sirius swooped him into a low bow and pressed his lips loudly to James's.
James was aware of the whole of the Great Hall's occupants' eyes on him as he grasped Sirius's robes at the shoulders and trained in vainly to push him off. Sirius continued on with his charade, making wet, kissing noises for the entire school to hear, and James could feel his face burning with embarrassment.
Finally, at last, Sirius dropped him and climbed down from the table.
Hardly daring to look at anyone, James raised his hand up to his mouth and was just about to wipe it clean when green eyes caught his.
Lily was staring at him, fork suspended above her eggs. It dropped with a loud clatter to her plate, breaking the trance the girls around her were in, but she hardly seemed to notice.
"Sirius Black, James Potter, just what did you two think you were doing!" came McGonagall's shriek of disapproval, but James was only paying a shred of attention.
And as the Great Hall began to laugh, or to clap, or to whistle loudly, or to shake heads in disgust, James watched as Lily's lips—slowly, but surely—curved into a warm, fond smile.
James felt himself grinning giddily back—not once had he been on the other end of that smile. Not once.
"I expect the both of you to apologize—" McGonagall ranted on.
Winking, Lily went back to chattering with her friends, green eyes bright.
James let out a rush of breath, grin still in place. For once, it seemed like he had a chance at Lily's affections.
"Mr. Potter, are you paying attention!"